Re: anti-spam strategies

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 01 Oct 1998 18:06:15 -0400

boogie woogie wrote:

> Michael Lorrey writes:
> [I have contacted juno's 'postmaster' several times in response, but
> always get canned automated responses, and there seems to be no actions
> being taken to limit spammers from using juno servers.]
> You are wasting you time going after Juno. Huge software firms can't
> litigate them to stop hackers from using their service to pirate
> software. How do you think you are going to make Juno even blink?

As I said, I'm interested in class action, which if you have the slightest knowledge about law means that you get a whole bunch of people and companies on board one huge lawsuit.

> [In response to this, I've started taking two strategies which I suggest
> others on the list do as well in hopes of finally getting some sort of
> respose to remedy the situation.]
> I've got a better strategy. Make the list a closed list. They can still
> retrieve email addresses from the archives but that is cumbersome. They
> will go back to USENET fishing.

Making the list a closed list is useless, and far too late. The archives are the main source of data mining that spammers use. Every spam message I get from the list I also get to my personal accounts as well, so my personal addresses are on the spammer's databases. The only way they could get these addresses is if they were mining the data from the archives, or if a subscriber is a miner, in which case making the list closed is again a useless gesture. The problem with juno is that they have no mechanism in their system which permanently banns people based on either their forwarding email server, their name, billing address, or credit card numbers or social security numbers. All they do is cancel existing accounts of spammers when the spammers are reported, thus always putting the onus on others to do the work of reporting the spammers as they come up with new email accounts. It is easy for a spammer to set up new accounts once old ones have been canceled.

You think that mining email addresses from the archives is cumbersome? Wrong. it is extremely easy for someone with the right software to do. All you need is an FTP client, and a good editor like vedit, and an application that can do sorting like a database or spreadsheet app. I bet that I could develop a useable database of the extropy mail list archive's posters in only a few hours at most.

The way to end exploitation of this mail list is to a) wipe the archive, b) hunt down and kill every owner of databases mined from the archives, or c) go after the accomplices. I think that going after the accomplices is the more productive and extropic strategy.

> [They are based on the idea that since juno is doing nothing to prevent
> spammers from using accounts with them for spamming, that juno is in
> collusion with spammers who engage in theft of electronic services (i.e.
> wasting my time and bandwidth). Considering the volume of this theft,
> Juno can fall under the RICO Act statutes.]
> They are also based on the (wrong) idea that Juno cares. Juno has been
> litigated before on this. They don't care. Prosecutors can't construct
> cases that stand up in court. Like I said before, software firms can't
> even stop the free use of Juno's service.

Its not that hard to do. You can even do it at a local level. Pass a local ordinance that requires any ISP that wishes to provide service in your area must include blockers in its mail servers that stops any and all email to or from known perpetrators and accessories to illegal theft of electronic services. Making it unprofitable to collude with spammers will make them care.

You can also push for ordinances which require the public posting of lists of 'outed' spammers.

> [Strategy 1: Charge fees: As some on the list may know, I charge a
> $250.00 fee for processing unsolicited commercial email messages. Every
> time I receive a spam which uses a juno account in the body of the
> message as a response email address, I send a bill to juno's postmaster
> for $250.00. Their account balance is now
> $1500.00. I've given them three days to refuse charges on each instance,
> and 30
> days to pay the charges, and will impose a 18.5% finance charge for
> balances due over 30 days.]
> This absurd idea is based on supposed enforcement of communication laws
> that are just not enforced. Why charge them $250 when the law allows for
> $500? Hell, why not just charge them a cool million for every bit you
> receive? Then you can include those hefty billion dollar receivables on
> your books. Factor them off to a bank who I'm sure will give you at
> least a penny for them.

I don't know where you are at, but they do get enforced around here. I wasn't aware of a limit on what I could charge, but now that I know, I'll surely up it to the legal limit.

> [Strategy 2: I warn juno in each message that they are in violation of
> RICO Act statues by colluding with perpetrators of theft of electronic
> services. Apparently, there are means of civil redress under the RICO
> Act, where a person or persons can sue violators of the RICO Act. I am
> currently researching what it would take to file a class action lawsuit
> against on these grounds. Anyone here is welcome to become in
> volved in this effort. If you are interested in getting in on this
> lawsuit, respond to me at: Please provide a zip
> file with text copies of all spam messages you have received related to
> to add to the evidence files.]
> You shouldn't waste people's time with these litigation pipedreams. You
> aren't going to find an attorney that will waste his time prosecuting an
> ISP under the RICO statutes! Unless you pay them a hefty nonrefundable
> retainer. Get a good spam filter and have a nice day.

On the contrary, while I already have several lawyers I know personally who are starting to work on this for me, with no retainer, I also know of lawyers who specialize in class actions, stockholder lawsuits, etc, work on these projects on contingency, since they stand to gain up to 1/3 of any judgement won.

Mike Lorrey